FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Caroline Tabler<mailto:[email protected]> or James Arnold<mailto:[email protected]> (202) 224-2353 April 26, 2018
Hill, Cramer Join Cotton in Crackdown on Opioid Trafficking
Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today announced that Congressmen French Hill (R-Arkansas) and Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) have joined his effort to crack down on opioid trafficking. In the House of Representatives, Representative Hill introduced the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act, legislation that will strengthen penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking and provide additional screening resources for the United States Postal Service.
On March 22, Senators Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-Louisiana), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), and Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) introduced the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act in the Senate.
“Given fentanyl’s incredible capability for destruction of human life, I am thankful for Congressman Hill’s leadership in the House and his dedication to ending the fentanyl scourge,” Senator Cotton said. “Last year alone, fentanyl killed more than 20,000 Americans, and it has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States.”
After the bill’s introduction, Representative Hill released the following statement:
“Across Arkansas, tearful families have told me their stories about how the opioid crisis has personally affected them, which is why I introduced this bill to step up penalties for fentanyl traffickers and provide necessary resources to track illegal shipments,” Rep. Hill said. “Last year alone the opioid epidemic caused over 45,000 deaths and killed more than 100 people a day – with a third of these deaths attributable to fentanyl and similar compounds. We can’t let another Arkansas family be devastated by this crisis, and this bill, coupled with a community-wide effort, will help fight this epidemic. I appreciate Senator Cotton’s support in the Senate on this important issue, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this legislation passed in the House.”
Representative Kevin Cramer, cosponsor of Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act, released the following statement:
“The first priority in addressing this crisis is prevention and deterrence. The best way to combat a problem is to stop it before it starts. This legislation updates and strengthens fentanyl trafficking penalties to ensure the punishment properly matches the crime while providing resources to the Postal Service to stop the illegal smuggling of these deadly drugs throughout the United States.”
List of individuals and groups now supporting the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act:
Sheriff David Taylor, Union County; Sheriff Barry Faile, Lancaster County; Sheriff Kevin Tolson, York County; Chief Steve Parker, Tega Cay Police Department; Chief Ken Miller, Greenville Police Department; Sheriff Tim Helder, Washington County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Keith Slape, Newton County; Sheriff Bob Dunn, Calhoun County; Sheriff John Staley, Lonoke County; Chief Devin Bramlett, Ozark Police Department; Chief John O’Brian, Paris Police Department; Chief Joseph Beavers, Prescott Police Department; Kirk Lane, Arkansas Drug Director.
National Sheriffs’ Association; National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys; Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police; Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association; Association of Arkansas Counties.
* The last year reported data was available (2016), confirmed drug-overdose deaths rose in Arkansas by 17% (from 287 to 335), although law enforcement believes the real number to be much higher. * Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and has played an outsized role in the opioid epidemic. * This bill will reduce the amount of fentanyl and its analogues required for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply in distribution cases. * It will also provide resources to the Post Office to stop shipments of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids arriving from overseas.